My name is Sarah. I am a 29 year old small business owner. I have Cerebral Palsy (CP).
I know what you’re thinking. “What is Cerebral Palsy?” Before you go running off to your preferred search engine I’d like to tell you about Cerebral Palsy from my prospective.
I have Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy, sometimes shorted as SDCP. CP affects each person differently, for me my CP affects my legs, so my case is mild. I was diagnosed with CP around my first birthday and is most likely a result of my premature birth; my due date was in April, I was born in early February. Timing has never been my forte.
Cerebral Palsy is the most common motor disability among children, since that’s when the majority of individuals are diagnosed. Even if you’ve never heard of CP before you probably know someone with CP. It’s that common and many people with CP don’t go around broadcasting it to the world at large for various reasons.
If you were to watch me walk or do anything involving balance and coordination you would probably be able to tell that I’m different, just not exactly why or how. But my life probably isn’t much different than yours. I work part time, have started my own business (speaking as a health & patient advocate), and live independently (among other things).
Currently there’s a cure for CP. I happen to prefer it that way, but that’s a story you can find on my blog if you’re so inclined.
Even though there is no cure for CP there are various treatments, especially in childhood since that’s typically when you’re most likely to have the most gains. I’ve had multiple surgeries, countless hours of physical & occupational therapy; I’ve also worn braces and used various mobility aids.
CP is a non progressive disorder; however once I reached adulthood I noticed that things were changing for me. I went from an active college student living in DC to not being able to stand up for a few minutes without experiencing extreme pain. As I result I spent some time back in physical therapy to regain strength that I had lost. Not long after being discharged from PT I became a long term volunteer and moved across the country, soon enough the same thing happened.
In late 2009 I had bilateral hip surgery that kept me off my feet for 3 months and I had to relearn to walk again, which took about a year from the date of surgery.
I learned a lot about myself and my condition from discovering surgery would be my best option throughout the recovery process. For one, CP is not a “kid’s condition”. While most of the time and research is focused on children it is truly a lifelong condition that must be managed and monitored as such.
Before I had surgery I never used to work out, although it was suggested to me often enough. These days I try to spend between 2-3 hours at the gym a week. The more I move the better I feel. A common symptom of CP is muscle tightness so exercising and stretching helps counteract that. My days are not completely pain free but devoting time to my CP helps lessen the pain.
What I’d most like people to know about Cerebral Palsy is that individuals with CP are so much more than their disability, and that they are more like people without CP than they are different.
If you’d like to get to know more about me you can find me at Stand Tall Though Everything(http://standup8.wordpress.com
) or on Twitter @StandUp8Tweets